Twelve

Here, at the end of everything, the sun never sets.

The ocean meets the land with perpetual violence. Her constant assault increases her territory, inch by inch, century by century.

Etude stood on the very brink of the world, two hundred feet above the raging torrent of Mother Ocean. The ragged edges of the crimson ribbon around his wrist snapped and flailed in the wind.

“As I promised, so I do.”

He untied the ribbon carefully and held it at arm’s length, gripping it with the three remaining fingers of his right hand. In his mind, he saw her smile. He opened his fingers and the wind plucked the ribbon from his hand. The silk hissed softly as it drew through his fingers and danced merrily into the eternal daylight.

He sat on the lush grass along the clifftop and looked out into the void. The sun roared at him through the ocean spray and the wind whistled and howled like one possessed.

“For you, I do this.”

The endless road behind him weighed heavily on his back. Thoughts of the journey; the pain and anguish, the unending, unendurable solitude, crowded in his head, jostling for attention.

“Sitting here, on top of everything, I see it was worth it. It was all worth it.”

Etude smiled.

“I am not alone.”

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